He’s a slick and, at times, fearsome entrepreneur, has outstayed all but one of his fellow Dragons in the Den, and comes packaged with views on politics and social affairs that would make even Jeremy Paxman wince. Yet despite a jet set lifestyle that sees the 62-year-old juggle London, the north-east and the French Riviera – as well as a diverse range of businesses linked only by the name of the majority shareholder at Companies House – Duncan Bannatyne is a true gentleman.
Invited to his pad in London’s swanky Covent Garden, there’s no sign of the snarling businessman who exacts an effortless Glaswegian snub to the ambitions of entrepreneurs on the hit BBC1 show. Instead, coffee is laid on, there’s the smell of croissants in the air, and for someone worth an estimated £430m, there’s not even the slightest feeling of urgency.
‘You’ve caught me on my holidays,’ he smiles. ‘This is one of the 15 weeks off I allow myself each year. I’d usually be with my kids, preferably relaxing around the pool in our place in France, but certainly away from work and everything that entails.’
His schedule has been hectic of late though. The completion of the ninth series of Dragon’s Den leads his annual reflection as to whether it should be his last…
The full interview will appear in a future issue of Talk Business. Click here to subscribe to receive the magazine.